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News/Business. Confirmation hearing on the expected nomination of Charles T. Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. New.

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Hagel 40, Israel 33, Us 27, America 20, Chuck Hagel 20, Iran 17, Inhofe 17, U.s. 16, Iraq 15, United States 15, Afghanistan 14, Mccain 14, Chuck 9, Nunn 9, Panetta 9, Pentagon 8, Syria 7, Levin 5, Hezbollah 5, John Warner 5,
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  CSPAN    Committee Meeting    News/Business. Confirmation hearing on the expected  
   nomination of Charles T. Hagel to be Secretary of Defense. New.  

    January 31, 2013
    9:30 - 12:00pm EST  

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thinking too much about what is best for their party and not what is best for the country. that is the analogy that came in mind watching the nomination this morning. host: all right, appreciate your call. we expect senator riegle to walk in there any minute. -- we expect senator hegel to walk in there any minute. we are going to go to the room and stay here just in case it takes a while for him to come up. in the meantime, let's listen in if we can. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> good morning, everybody. the committee meets today to consider the nomination of former senator chuck hagel to be secretary of defense. before i begin, i want to first will come senator inhofe as the
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new ranking republican on our committee, succeeding senator mccain. senator mccain has been a great partner over the past six years, and i thank him for all the work he has done to get bills enacted, his leadership on a host of issues, his support for the work of this committee, and for always keeping our hearings likely. senator inhofe has shown his strong commitment to the national defense over his 20 years on this committee. and i know that we are going to work well together and continue the bipartisan tradition of the committee. we are also pleased to welcome the eight senators who are joining the committee this year, both of those who are new to the senate and those who are new to our committee. senators donnelly, hirano, kaine, and king on the democratic side, and senators blunt, cruz, fischer, and lee on the republican side.
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you will all find that this is a wonderful committee where we work across party lines to support our troops and their families, and their national defense mission. i would also like to pause for a moment to offer my thanks and the thanks of our committee to secretary panetta, who delayed his retirement and his return to california to serve our country, first as director of central intelligence, and then as secretary of defense. secretary panetta has provided a steady hand at the department of defense through two very difficult years, and has read our great respect and our appreciation -- earned our great respect and our appreciation. finally, the committee will be holding hearings next week on benghazi, and the weeks thereafter on the impact of a sequester on the department of defense. senator hagel, we welcome you to
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the armed services committee as an old friend, those of us with whom he served during your years in the senate. there are few jobs were demanding that the position to which you have been nominated. the hours are long and extremely challenging, and require sacrifices from both the secretary and his family. we traditionally give our nominees an opportunity to introduce their families at these hearings, and we would welcome your doing so during your opening statement. if confirmed, senator hagel would be the first former enlisted man and the first veteran of the vietnam war to serve as secretary of defense. you cannot read and senator of his military service and not be impressed by it. as senator hagel explained a few years ago, but " probably most fundamental for me, when we talk about going to war, we need to think it through carefully, not
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just for the political and diplomatic and economic consequences, and those are important, but at least for me, this old infantry sergeant thinks about when i was in vietnam in 1968. someone needs to represent that perspective in our government as well. the people in washington make the policy, but it is the little guys to come back in the body bags." senator hagel's background provides an invaluable perspective, not only with respect to the difficult decisions and recommendations that the secretary of defense must make regarding the use of force and the commitment of u.s. troops overseas, but also with respect to the day to day decisions that the secretary must make to ensure that our men and women in uniform and their families received the support and assistance they need and deserve. it would be a positive message for our soldiers, sailors,
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airmen and marines in harm's way around the world to know that one of their own holds the highest office in the department of defense, and that he has bareback. senator hege -- has their backs. hagel, you would be in position to make key decisions on afghanistan. the secretary of defense is called upon to advise the president on the size and mission of a post-2014 so-called residual force, and the pace of the drawdown between now and the end of 2014. the key to this transition is ensuring the readiness and ability of afghan security forces to take over the defense of their own country. i always believed that would be our main mission and its key to
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success. during my trip to afghanistan with senator jack reed last month, we heard from u.s. commanders on the ground that afghan security forces are operating on their own on most operations, including conducting more than 85% of operations, with limited or no u.s. support in the difficult regional command east take difficult obstacles remain with the process of reducing our forces and shifting responsibility to afghan forces, including the difficulty of negotiating the status of forces agreement, including recent reports that the afghan government might slow down a successful program of growing and training the afghan local police, and including questions about the current plan to reduce the size of the afghan national security forces from 352,000 to around 132,000
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after 2015. we face a number of new and growing threats elsewhere in the world, such as the ongoing threat posed by iran's nuclear weapons program and the increase in early destructive civil war in syria, and the risks of conflict could result in the loss of control of the countries substantial stockpile of weapons. there is continuing instability in other countries affected by the arab spring. the growth of al qaeda affiliates in unguarded regions including yemen, somalia, and north africa, and continued unpredictable behavior of the nuclear-armed regime in north korea. we face these challenges at a time when the dod budget is under unique pressure as a result of cuts previously agreed upon by congress, the budgeting by continuing resolution, and the impending threats of a sequester. secretary panetta has said that
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a sequester would be devastating for our military. hagel's views on the sequester will be of great interest to this committee and the nation. those of us who have served with senator hagel in the senate know that he is a man who was not afraid to speak his mind. senator hagel has made a number of statements over the course of his career which committee members will ask him about during today's hearing. for example, senator hagel has stated that unilateral sanctions against iran, "are exactly the " and thatoach, and "the worst thing we could do is try to isolate iran." i believe that while effective multilateral sanctions are preferable, unilateral sanctions are an important part of the approach that the obama administration has followed and congress has supported, and it
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appears that sanctions are producing tremendous pressure on iran. another statement which has raised concern is senator hagel 's recommendation that we conduct, "direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the government of iran." now, while there is value in communicating with our adversaries, the formulation used by senator hagel seemed to imply a willingness to talk to iran on some issues that i view asmost of us would yo non-negotiable, and any willingness to talk to iran would need to be highly conditional. senator hagel's reassurance to me and my office that he supports the obama administration's strong stance against iran is significant. we look forward to hearing senator hagel today in some doubt on that subject. we will also be interested -- some depth on that subject. we will also be interested in
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hearing senator hagel's statement on the public statements is made on israel and the united states, that our policy of non-engagement with the syrians as, "isolated us more than the syrians," and a 2009 statement that "we should not isolate hamas," a terrorist organization. there is much to be explored at this hearing. but as we struggle with the difficult security challenges facing our nation, the president needs to have a secretary of trust,e in whom he has stresse who will give him unvarnished advice, a person of integrity, and one who has a personal understanding of the consequences of decisions relative to the use of military force. senator hagel certainly has those critically important qualifications to lead the department of defense.
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senator inhofe. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, i would like to echo your remarks about secretary panetta and the work he has done. i don't see him here today, but i do recall that when he was first nominated, i was probably one of the first phone calls to him, and i have enjoyed working with him and a mccain, the same way, i continue to depend on his counsel. you and i have worked very well together in the past. mr. chairman, before i continue the opening statement, i would like to raise a concern about the sufficiency of the materials provided to this committee by our nominee. senator hagel was requested to provide the speeches he has delivered over the past five years. yet his initials the mission was for only four speeches, even though, as was noticed by senator crews -- senator cruz,
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he had 12 speeches but submitted four speeches. well, we received some more, but only late last night i think it would have been a lot more helpful if we had received them before that. i hope we will be able to get that information before we have to cast votes on this nominee. the president's nomination for senator hagel for secretary of defense comes at a critical juncture. secretary hagel is a good man. emigrate admirer of the time he spent in vietnam and the sacrifice -- i am a great admirer of the time he spent in the end, and the sacrifices he made. while this service is commendable, his nomination should be decided by the totality of his record. it is the votes he has cast and the statements he has made that will inform us as to his judgment, his view of america's role in the world, and his view of the military requirement to
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support that role. as i told senator hagel in my office some time ago, over two weeks ago, after a long and careful review of his record, the things he has said, and the things i have personally experienced with him, we are too philosophically opposed on the pressing issues facing our country, and therefore i told him i would not be supporting his nomination. his record demonstrates what i view as a lack of his steadfast opposition to policies that diminish u.s. power and influence throughout the world, as well as a recent trend of policy reversals based on political expediency rather on core beliefs -- rather than on core beliefs. with many of the security challenges facing u.s. interest around the world, senator hagel 's record is deeply troubling and out of the mainstream read
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too often, it seems he's willing to subscribe to it worldwide view that is predicated on a peace in our adversaries while sh -- appeasing our adversaries while shunning our friends. no man survive when freedom fails,. i will mention a few of these things because they will come in this hearing. in 2000, an overwhelming majority of the senators sent a letter to president clinton for reaffirming our solidarity with israel. i carried that their around. i remember it well. senator hagel is one of just four who refused to sign that letter. i am sure he will want to comment on that. in 2001, he was one of just two senators voting against the bill for extending harsh sanctions against iran. a year later, he urged president bush to support iran's
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membership in the world trade organization. senator hagel voted against a resolution designating iran's's revolutionary guard corps, a group responsible for killing soldiers in iraq and afghanistan, as a terrorist organization. on multiple occasions, he has advocated for direct negotiations with iran, a regime that continues to oppress its people and dog billy pursue a nuclear weapon capability and employ terrorist -- doggedly person and nuclear weapon capability and employe terrorist proxies including hamas and hezbollah. senator hagel has been an outspoken supporter of nuclear disarmament and global 0 movement. we are very sensitive to that. the president has said many times that he wants a nuclear- free world, and i know that senator hagel is right there with him, but and a time when north korea's belligerent actions threaten our allies with nuclear capabilities, and the security of our own nation and
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that of our allies, why would we want to unilaterally disarm ourselves of nuclear capability? agelate, however, senator heg has expressed views in meetings with senate colleagues and i have been informed that they are glaringly at odds with long-held positions, but italy regarding israel, iran, and our nuclear -- particularly regarding israel, iran, and our nuclear arsenal. this willingness to walk back his positions, possibly for the sake of political expediency on input and issues, is deeply troubling, and sends a concerning message to our allies and adversaries alike. though i respect senator hagel, his record demonstrates that he would be a staunch advocate for the continuation of the misguided policies of the president's first term, retreating from america possibly unique global leadership role
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-- america's unique global leadership role. it will embolden our enemies and endanger our allies and provide an opportunity for nations that do not share our interests to fill the global leadership vacuum we leave behind. it is for these reasons that i believe he is the wrong person to lead the pentagon at this perilous and consequential time. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, senator inhofe. we have two former chairmen of this committee with us to introduce senator hagel. no senator has had two dearer friends or better mentor is that i have had with senators nunn and warner. i want to welcome them back to this committee. i don't have to tell them that they are almont and here, dear friends -- among dear, dear
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friends. it is our real treat to welcome you back to the committee could i will call on you, senator nu nn, first. i will call you alphabetically could i have no better way to do it. sam? [laughter] welcome back. >> first, for the record, seniority and age are two different things. senator levin, ranking member inhofe, i am honored to join my friend john warner in presenting chuck hagel to the committee and recommending that chuck be confirmed as our secretary of defense. i think it is worth noting that 60 years ago this month, john warner -- 68 years ago this month, john warner and listed in the u.s. navy to fight in world war ii.
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that was the start of his great career in public service, and john, i am proud to be here by your side. mr. chairman, i spent a lot of time sitting in your seat, and congratulations on not having to do that today -- >> i don't know how long it will last, but thanks for pointing it out. >> you and senator mccain have effectively gutted this committee in its important role as a compel -- guided this committee in its important role as an compelling voice for defense did you have managed to pass opposition bills even during contentious times -- authorization bills even during contentious times. thank you both for your dedicated service to our nation. i am confident that you and senator inhofe will continue this tradition, and that senator mccain will still be a very, very valuable member and a voice on this committee. i believe our nation is fortunate to have a nominee for secretary of defense with the character and the experience and
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courage and leadership that chuck hagel would bring to this position. first, chuck is acutely aware that even in an age of rapid technological advances, our military capability and effectiveness depend on the quality and the morale of the people who serve our nation in uniform, as well as the families who support them. chuck received two purple hearts in vietnam, and he continued to fight for veterans and active duty military personnel. he knows that our people are the strongest assets. experience ins vietnam shape his life in perspective. war for chuck hagel is not an abstraction. i am confident that if confirmed, he will ask the hard and smart questions before sending troops into battle. chuck hagel knows that the united states has vital interests that are worth fighting for and dying for.
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he also knows that war should be a last resort, and that our nation must effectively use all of our tools, not limited only to our military, to protect our important and to protect our vital interests. certainly, mr. chairman, there is a tension in these values, but it is a tension we should welcome in the thought process and in the advice that our secretary of defense gives to our commander in chief and this congress. from our service to gather on the defense policy board in recent years, i know that chuck hagel has a clear worldview, and that is aligned with the mainstream of u.s. foreign and defense policy and also with president obama. chuck hagel believes we must preserve the american strength as a force for good in the world. he recognizing that protecting our interests requires strong
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allies and friends, as well as strong american leadership. third, chuck has the depth of experience and leadership skills required to handle this tough job. there is no shortage of security challenges around the world, as this committee knows and as you enumerated this morning, mr. chairman. a very large and impressive group of former cabinet officials and public servants from both sides of the aisle have said that they trust chuck hagel with this important responsibility. and i strongly, i strongly agree. fourth, on the fiscal side, i am will be athat chauck powerful advocate for a common- sense approach in this administration and on capitol hill regarding fiscal challenges to the defense budget. he understands that our defense capabilities are being threatened on two budget friends. first, sequestration, with its damaging, across the board, up
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from the budget cuts, and second, the rapidly rising costs within the department's budget, including but not limited to health care, personnel, and retirement costs. mr. chairman, members of the committee, i believe that chuck will work effectively with this committee and congress on meeting these budget challenges while protecting our people, our capabilities, and while ensuring that the united states has the strongest military in the world. chuck hagel was a soldier and a senator, but he has been also a highly successful executive in both the public and private sectors. he built a successful company from the ground up. he is a man who knows how to prioritize and make tough decisions. he will listen to and carefully consider the views of our military and civilian leaders and guided them as necessary. fifth, i believe that chuck hagel will be a balanced and responsible voice on a nuclear
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weapons policy. president reagan said it often and said it well -- "nuclear war cannot be won and it must not be fought." as this committee knows, this of a global nuclear war have thankfully, substantially declined since the breakup of the soviet union. but within nine nations possessing nuclear weapons, with a nuclear weapons usable material and knowledge spread across the globe, and with terrorists is to -- terrorists managed to buy, steel, or make one, we face enormous risks that a nuclear weapon would be used if proliferation continues in places like iran and north korea, and if we do not secure them globally, the odds of use go up even more. six years ago, george shultz, bill perry, henry kissinger and i made the argument that we should reduce reliance on
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nuclear weapons as a vital contribution to preventing proliferation, keeping them out of dangerous hands, and ultimately ending them as a threat to the world. 2/3 of living former secretaries of state, defense, and national security advisers have agreed with the vision and the steps that we outlined, including substantial work on verification and enforcement. mr. chairman, i hope that all members of the committee and the senate will read the recent statements by four credible and very experienced americans -- master tom pickering, ambassador richard burt, general james cartwright, and general john she and, about their work with chuck hagel on a clear weapons. they made it abundantly clear that the bank opposed unilateral moves -- they oppose unilateral moves and support verifiable u.s. arms reductions, to be followed by multilateral negotiations bringing other
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nuclear weapons countries into a series and verifiable process of reductions. in closing, mr. chairman, there are many essential characteristics and values that the secretary of defense should possess. in our dangers and challenging world. let me name just two or three that i think are very important. first, someone who is well informed, has an open mind, in cages in critical thinking, who is capable of and seeks out independent thought. second, someone who sets aside fixed ideologies and biases to honestly evaluate all options and provide his or her candid judgment to the president and the congress. third, someone who pays attention to people with the best ideas. regardless of their party affiliation. no one is perfect, we all know that. but chuck hagel comes as close as anyone i know to having all of these qualities.
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mr. chairman, senator inhofe, members of the committee, i years on this committee and i know that much has changed since i retired 16 years ago. i continue to believe, however, that every major problem we face today requires the best input from both political parties if we are to arrive at a solution. i believe that chuck hagel will seek that input. i urge his support by this committee and i urge the confirmation of this nomination by the u.s. senate. i thank the chairman. >> thank you very much, senator nunn. senator warner. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is a very moving experience for me to reenter this room. i served on this committee for 30 years. in that period of time, senator nunn was the chairman and i was renting. but i want to say to you and jim
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inhofe -- jim and i have been good friends and we worked together not only on this committee, but other committees, and you will be a fine ranking member did you follow in the steps of my dear, valued friend of so many years, john mccain. and the this has been drawn from the ranks of the strongest and best of this. i'd like to say a word to the new members of this committee. as i look back over a very fortunate record of public service for many years, no chapter of my career was more important than service on this committee. you will carry with you for the rest of your life the recollections of the work that
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you've done for one of america's most valid assets, the men and the women and their families of the armed services of the united states. i've written out a nice long statement and then last night late i got sam nunn's statement and chuck hagel's statement and i said i felt another statement just wouldn't do. i'd rather say just a few words from the heart about the importance of what we have by way of decision before all of us today. i thank you, senator nunn, for the reference of 68 years ago in the navy. i did know more than every other kid on that block. we all went, but i'd like to remind you that a half century ago you served in the coast guard. grandpa, here's another grandpa.
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good friends, we thank chuck hagel and mrs. hagel and his family, because if confirmed, an enormous commitment by the family to this position. and having known lilibet and slightly your children, you have made that decision to offer yourself once again, offer yourself for continued public service. public service is a privilege. i've always regarded it as such. and the second reason, i won't give a long statement, this statement by senator hagel will soon be shared with you, and i read it through not once, twice but again this morning, and i say this very carefully. i have read the statements that have been placed before the members of this committee for
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those 30 years, i have never read a more carefully prepared statement, a more forthright statement and one that has no hedges or deviations. he hits firm on those issues that will make the decision in your minds and that of your colleagues as to whether or not he is qualified to take on this very, very important assignment. i first entered the pentagon in 1969 during the war in vietnam under melvin laird. jim slushinger followed and i worked with every secretary of defense since that period of time. all different, all with their strengths and indeed some of their weaknesses, but set forth in this is a series of
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commitments to you as a committee, to the members of the full senate and to the american public as precisely what his goals are and what he will do. how he will serve the president, how he will give the president his best advice, and i know chuck to give it very strongly. so i am going to talk a little bit about crack hagel, the man i served with for 12 years. my distinguished colleague and longtime friend, sam, had gone when chuck arrived at the senate. first year he was here, we had daniel defense authorization bill on the floor, and in those days, as it is today, that bill goes on that floor, that bill stays on that floor.
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sometimes a couple days, sometimes a couple of weeks. we get it through. when it's done we go back to our committee's faces and we begin to write that bill and get it to the printer so that we can go to conference. how many times have we done that together, senator nunn, senator levin, senator mccain, senator inhofe? many times. well, the first year he was here he watched that process, and when i had taken the staff back to the committee room, surprisingly, he showed up and i didn't know him that well, although i studied his biography and i wanted to get to know him because of my deep and abiding interest in the vietnam period having served for five years in that period as secretary, under secretary of the navy. he strolled in the room and i introduced him to the people
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and he said to the staff, you are one of the most impressive group of young people i've ever seen. i learned a lot. and he shared some of his stories as a simple but elegant soldier that he was. that's how he started, and thereafter he voted for every single final passage of the authorization bill, every single final passage of the appropriation bill. he was honed and learned in that generation of vietnam, and i'm so proud to have the affiliation of having been, yes, in comparative safety, the pentagon, but i did go to the field of battle and see these young men and some women who engaged in that struggle, but
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chuck hagel brings with him the experience of having come home, come home to an america that was quite different, and what i experienced when my generation came home from world war ii, we were welcomed with open arms. america at that time in vietnam, and how well john mccain can remember this, was very divided, and when you wore your uniform back home, it didn't see the same respect it deserved for the sacrifices that you and your colleagues had committed. chuck will never forget that. i will never forget it. john will never forget it. today we welcome home and we do it with the fullest heart the young men and women that there have been times in history, and that was one, and so that honed him to be prepared to take on
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his responsibilities as he addresses the declining budget situation which is going to be a challenge. and i am absolutely certain that he will stand up and fight as hard as two of your predecessors, leon pennetta, you mentioned today, and robert gates. they gave their president loyalty but they gave him their best advice and tough and fought for their troops and drilled down that they've got to maintain whatever budget and sequester is not the route. but whatever budget, maintain morale and combat readiness. and also, ladies and gentlemen, that pillar of strength of our military system, the all-volunteer force.
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we had drafts in vietnam. we saw the effect of that. and we decided as a nation to take a gamble, to let every person who wished to wear the uniform give them that opportunity and to volunteer. no one is forced in there. that has got to be maintained. this man has the experience and graphs to and the strength to protect the all-volunteer force. i also was deeply impressed by the senate and the manner in which it confirmed john kerry. john kerry served in that time and he went through trials and tribulations and came home and faced the public the way that chuck did. the senate confirmed him with a very, very strong vote, and
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they sent him away ready to take on the enormity of his responsibility. now, i mention that because in my experience, i've seen a good deal of camaraderie and the competition between the secretaries of defense and the secretaries of state. it just sort of built in there and a lot of times sand gets in that gearbox, but it's important to the united states that they, having the major jurisdiction of most of the policy issues, work as a team. john kerry and chuck hagel are a band of brothers out of vietnam with that special bond, and i'm sure that you will utilize that and remember and make those two departments perform their function, best service the president and best service the country. so i pretty well said everything i should say.
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i want to be brief because it's important that this committee pursue its work, but, again, bob gates, leon panetta, set the bar for this century of those who take on this job and you mentioned your long friendship and how you know both. i'd keep close contact. they've had the experience to deal with this president of the united states, and you're the president's choice. folks, there's an old saying in the combat army infantry and marine corps. certain men are asked to take the point, which means to get out and lead, in the face of the enemy. chuck hagel did that as a sergeant in vietnam. if confirmed, chuck hagel will do it again.
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this time not before a platoon but before every man and woman and their families in the armed services, you will lead them, and they will know in their hearts, we have one of our own. you're on your own. good luck. [laughter] >> well, we thank you both, senator warner, senator nunn, for your powerful introductions. i just wish every member of the senate, every american could have heard, and i hope will hear and read about what you said here today about chuck hagel. and i also notice there's another former senator who is a member of that band of brothers who is with us today. i just noticed in the audience max cleeland is here and i want
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to welcome you, max, an old friend of the committee and of the senate and of the nation. so let me now call on senator hagel, and senator warner, senator nunn, again, thank you for your introductions and you are free to get back to your lives or to stay as you wish. >> thank you. >> senator hagel. >> thank you, chairman levin, ranking member inhofe and distinguished members of the committee. i am honored to come before you today as the president's nominee to be secretary of defense. first, as you suggested, mr. chairman, let me introduce my family. my wife, lilibet, our son, ziller, and our daughter, allyn, are not with us today. our son, ziller, claims he's
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taking a test. we'll confirm that later. but both are a son and daughter that lilibet and i are very, very proud of. and i think like any proud father and any proud mother, you all know how i feel about that as you have the same feelings about your children, it's the same way lilibet and i feel about ours. i also want to introduce my brother, tom, who served with me in vietnam. my brother mike, who is our number three brother. and i might add who actually possesses any talent our family has, he has in the pentagon 10 paintings as chairman of the air force artist over the years, and they're hanging in
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different locations in the pentagon. so we have one brother of some acclaim. and one of us did make it. my brother mike. mike's son is sitting behind him, josh. he's one of three children that mike has. we have here also cousins, many friends, people i owe money to. [laughter] and who knows who else. i have received some publicity over the weeks. i want to also thank my friends, sam nunn and john warner. i want to thank them for their support, their encouragement and their friendship over many years. and as each of you who had the privilege of serving with those two senators, i, too, add my
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thanks for their tremendous service to our country. these two distinguished americans represent what the best about american public service and responsible bipartisanship. they have embodied both in their careers, long distinguished careers, and are models for each of us. and of course to my family and friends and my fellow veterans who are here, as has been noted , max cleland, jan scruggs, veterans from all wars. i am grateful to them. not just for fellow friends and veterans who are here but those not here, thank you. a life is only as good as the family and friends you have and the people you surround yourself with. i also want to thank my friend,
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leon panetta, for his tremendous service to our country over so many years. if i'm given the privilege of succeeding him, it will be a high honor. president obama, for his confidence and trust in me, i thank him. i'm humbled by the opportunity and the possibility he's given me to serve our country once again. and i fully recognize the immense responsibilities of the secretary of defense. i assured the president that if i am confirmed by the united states senate i will always do my best, i will always do my best for our nation and for the men and women and their families who are called on to make the enormous sacrifices of military service. their safety, success and welfare will always be at the forefront of the decisions i make. i also assured the president that i would always provide him with my most honest and informed advice. i make that same commitment to this committee and to the
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congress. if confirmed i will reach out to the members of this committee for advice and collaboration. it will be a partnership, because the national security challenges america faces require it. our nation's security is the highest priority of our leaders and our government. we cannot allow the work of confronting the great threats we face today to be held hostage to partisanship on either side of the aisle or by differences between the bodies represented in articles 1 and 2 of our constitution. the stakes are too high. men and women of all political philosophies and parties and ideas die and fight for our country. as this committee knows so well, protecting our national security our committing a nation to war can never become political litmus tests. i know secretary panetta has put a strong emphasis on reaching out to the congress. i, like leon, come from the
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congress and respect and understand this institution's indispensible role and setting policy and helping govern our country. we are all products. forces that shape us. for me there has been nothing more important in my life or more defining influence on my life than my family. whether it was helping my mother raise four boys after my father, a world war ii veteran, died suddenly at age 39 on christmas day, or serving side by side my brother, tom, in vietnam or the wonderful miracle of my wife, lilibet and me being blessed with two beautiful children. that is who i am. we each bring to our responsibilities frames of reference. these frames of reference are formed by our life's experiences. they help instruct our judgments. we build out from those personal foundations by continually informing ourselves, listening and
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learning. like each of you, i have a record, a record that i'm proud of. i'm proud of my record, not because of any accomplishments i may have achieved or certainly because of an absence of mistakes but rather because i tried to build that record based on living my life and fulfilling my responsibilities as honestly as i knew how and with hard work. underpinning everything i've done in my life was a belief we should always be striving to make our nation a more better and secure place for all our people. during the 12 years i had the privilege of serving the people of nebraska in the united states senate, i cast over 3,000 votes and hundredses of committee votes. i've also given hundreds of interviews and speeches and written a book. so as you all know, i'm on the record. i'm on the record on many issues. but no one individual vote, no
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one individual quote, no one individual statement defines me. my believes or my record, my overall world view has never changed. america has and must maintain the strongest military in the world, that we must lead in the international community to confront threats and challenges together and take advantage of opportunities together and that we must use all our tools of american power to protect our citizens and our interests. i believe and i always have believed that america must engage in the world, not retreat from the world but engage from the world. my record is consistent on these points. it's clear that we are living at a defining time. our nation is emerging from over a decade of war. we have brought our men and women in uniform home from iraq and have started to bring them home from afghanistan. that does not mean that the
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threats we face and will continue to face are any less dangerous or complicated. in fact, it is quite the opposite. recent events in mali and algeria remind us clearly of this reality. 21st century complexities, technologies, economies, threats are bringing the seven billion global citizens closer together than ever before. and as our planet adds another two billion people over the next 25 years, the dangers, complications and human demands will not be lessened but rather heightened. despite these challenges, i believe we also have historic opportunities to help build a safer, more prosperous, more secure, more hopeful and just world that maybe at any time -- than maybe at any time in the history of people. yes, the intolerance continues
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around the world and we must continue to be clear eyed about this danger and we will be. we will not hesitate to use the full force of the united states military in defense of our security, but we must also be smart and more importantly wise, wise in how we employ all of our nation's great power. america's continued leadership and strength at home and abroad will be critically important for our country and the world. while we will not his -- hesitate to act unilately when necessary. it is essential that we closely with our allies and partners to enhance america's interests and security as well as global security. if confirmed i will continue to build on the efforts of this administration and a former secretaries gates, secretary panetta and secretary clinton to strengthen our alliances and partnerships around the world. i will also look forward to working with my former senate colleague, your colleague and
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our friend, john kerry, in this pursuit. as i told the president, i am committed to his positions on all issues of national security, specifically decisions that the department of defense is in the process of implementing now. this includes the defense strategic guidance the president outlined in january, 2012. allow me to very briefly address a few of those specific issues now. first, we have a plan to place -- a plan in place to transition out of afghanistan, continue bringing our troops home and end the war which has been the longest war, as we all know, in america's history. as you also know, discussions are ongoing about what the u.s. presence in afghanistan will look like after 2014. the president has made clear and i agree that there should be only two functions for u.s. troops that remain in afghanistan after 2014.
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counterterrorism, particularly to target al qaeda and its affiliates, and training and advising afghan forces. it's time we forge a new partnership with afghanistan, withist -- with its government and most importantly with its people. second, as secretary of defense i will ensure we will stay vigilant and keep up the pressure on terrorist organizations as they try to expand their affiliates around the world in places like yemen, somalia and north africa. at the pentagon, that means continuing to invest in and build the tools to assist in that fight, such as special operations forces and new intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies. and it will mean working hand in hand with our partners here at home, across the national security intelligence communities to confront these and other threats, especially the emerging threat, the very dangerous and real threat of
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cyberwarfare. as i made clear, i am fully committed to the president's goal of preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. and as i have been on record on that issue and as i've said in the past many times, all options must be on the table to achieve that goal. my policy has always been the same as the president's, one of prevention, not of containment. and the president has made clear that is the policy of our government. as secretary of defense, i will make sure that the department is prepared for any contingency. that's my job. that's my responsibility. i will ensure our friend and ally israel maintains its qualitative military edge in the region and will continue to support systems like iron dome, which is today saving israeli lives from terrorists' rocket attacks. that support i have always made clear and been on the record
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for. fourth, while we pursue the reductions in our deployed stockpiles and launchers consistent with the new start treaty, i am committed to maintaining a modern, strong, safe ready and effective nuclear arsenal. america's nuclear deterrent over the last 35 years has played a central role in ensuring global security and the avoidance of a world war iii. i have been committed to that. my record is clear on that. i am committed to modernizing our nuclear arsenal. as we emerge from this decade of war, we must also broaden our nation's focus overseas as we look at future threats and challenges. as this committee knows, that's why d.o.d. is rebalancingist resources toward the asia pacific region. we are in the process of modernizing our defense posture across the entire region to defend and deepen our partnerships with traditional allies, especially japan, south
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korea and australia. to continue to defer and defend against provocations from states like north korea as well as nonstate actors. and to expaneled our networks of security cooperation throughout the region to combat terrorism, counterproliferation, provide disaster relief, fight piracy and ensure maritime security. i will continue this rebalancing even as we continue to work closely, closely with our longtime allies of nato and our friends and with allies and partners and friends in other regions of the world. at the same time we'll continue to focus on challenges in the middle east and north africa where we have clear national interests. rather as a recognition that the united states has been and always will be a pacific power. in the asia pacific area is increasingly vital to america's security and economic interests. that's why we must become even more engaged in the region over
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the incoming years. during all of this and much more will require smart and strategic budget decisions. i have made it clear i'm sure leon panetta and the concerns of the impact just ration will have on our armed forces. as someone who has run businesses, i know that the uncertainty and turbulence of the current budget climate makes it much more difficult to manage the pentagon's resources and our national security. if confirmed i'm committed to effectively and efficiently using every single taxpayers' dollars the right way, to maintain the strongest military in the world and to working with congress to ensure that the department has the resources it needs and that the disposition of those resources is accountable. even as we deal with difficult budget decisions, i will never break america's commitment to our troops, our veterans and our military families. we will continue to invest in the well-being of our
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all-volunteer force and working with the v.a. and other institutions we will make sure our troops and their families get the health care, job opportunities and education they have earned and deserve. just as i did when i co-authored the post-9/11 g.i. bill with senators jim webb, frank lautenberg and john warner. this includes focusing on the mental health of our fighting force, because no one who volunteers to fight and die for this country should ever feel like that they have nowhere to turn. that's unacceptable for this country. in my 12 years in the senate, my one guiding principle on every security decision i made and every vote i cast was always this, simply this -- is our policy worthy of our troops and their families and the sacrifices that we ask them to make? that same question will guide me if i am confirmed as
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secretary of defense. our men and women in uniform and their families must never doubt that their leaders' first priority is them. i believe my record of leadership on veterans' issues over the years going back to my service in the veterans administration under president reagan demonstrates my rock-solid exitment to our veterans and their families. we must always take care of our people. that's why i will work to ensure that everyone who volunteers to fight for this country has the same rights and same opportunities as i discussed with many of you in our meetings. i'm fully committed to implementing the repeal of don't-ask, don't-tell and doing everything possible under current law to provide equal benefits to the families of all, all our service members and their families. i will work with the service chiefs as we officially open combat positions to women, a decision i strongly support. and i will continue the important work that leon panetta has done to combat
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sexual assault, sexual assault in the military, maintain the health and well-being of those who serve as critical to maintaining a strong and capable military because in institutions people must always come first. as we look ahead to the coming years, we have an extraordinary opportunity, opportunity now, at this moment to define what's next for america's military in our country. it is incumbent upon all of us to make decisiones that will ensure our nation is prepared to confront any threat we may face in the future, protect our citizens and remain, remain the greatest force for good in the world. if confirmed as secretary of defense, it will be a great honor working with the president, this committee, the congress and our military to ensure our policies are worthy of the service and sacrifice of america's men and women. thank you, mr. chairman. i look forward to your
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questions. >> thank you very much, senator hagel, and here's whaft plan is now for the hearing. -- what the plan is now for the hearing. we'll have a first round of eight minutes each. we have a vote that is scheduled for 12:15. we're going to work through that vote so -- and we're also going to work through lunch, which means we would ask are you to vote sometime during that 12:15 vote and come back, for those who haven't had your turn yet. there are five votes at 2:15. i hope that we can complete our first round by 2:00 or 2:15 so we could then have a late lunch at 12:15 during those five votes. we would then come back perhaps an hour later. we would ask those who have not had a turn, if that's the case,
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or during our second round that to begin our second round that you on the final vote, vote early and then come back so we can start as quickly as possible around the 3:15 or 3:30, i would assume, to either complete the first round, if it hasn't been completed, or to begin our second round. the -- because of the time crunch, we have standard questions which we ask of all nominees. i am going to ask those at a later time during this hearing, but we will ask them, and again i think we hope to finish today. we'll leave the record open for questions, but our goal would be to finish today no matter how long it takes today. then to have the record open for questions. so let us now begin our first round of eight minutes.
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senator hagel, you made reference to the looming sequester. we received a letter signed by the joint chiefs of staff relative to sequester which says that we're on the brink of creating a hallowed force based on budget conditions and legislation. they have talked about the readiness crisis which would result, grounding aircraft, returning ships to port, stop driving combat vehicles and training and so forth. can you -- and you've spoken very briefly about your agreeing in general with the impact. would you expand on the impact of that sequester from your perspective? >> well, mr. chairman, i think the chiefs have laid it out rather directly, plainly, as secretary panetta has as recently as two, three days ago, ash carter in an
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interview, went into some detail. the fact is, the bottom line is if sequester would occur, it isn't just a reduction in a significant amount of dollars that would occur, but it would be a convergence of taking the flexibility, the projection, the management, the future away from those who are responsible for managing our budget. furloughs. furloughing civilian employees would have to occur. you listed inventory of consequences of cutting back on flying time, of training. these are real consequences that would occur. i know the pentagon, the chiefs, those who have responsibility or managing every department of this three million operation security
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institution are preparing for the worst. but make no mistake, this is not an exaggeration. when managers are not given the flexibility and the opportunity and the tools to manage with complete uncertainty as to what's ahead, that's disaster. >> thank you. on the question of iran and the use of force, the president has said that iran's leaders should understand that president obama does not have a policy of containment. he has a policy to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, that he's made clear that he will not hesitate, in his words, to use force when necessary to defend the united states and its interests. do you agree with president obama's position that, quote, all options should be on the table, closed quote, to let iran from obtaining a nuclear
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weapon? >> i do, i have and i strongly agree with it. >> on iranian sanctions. president obama has said that the sanctions which have been put in place are crippling the economy of iran. i have to agree. their currency has dropped 80%. oil production has plunged. the economy is in the shamples -- shambles. do you agree with the president's views on sanctions against iran and if so how do you reconcile your position with some of your past statements that suggest that the national security of the united states is not served by isolating iran? >> well, first, i do agree and always have agreed with multilateral sanctions because i think they have an effect sand i think this president, in particular, has probably done more than any president to
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effectively employ those kind of international sanctions, starting with a security council u.n. agreement and u.n. mandates. so i agree with what the president's doing. and i've said publicly, incidentally, long before the president ever asked me to consider this job, that additional sanctions might be required. as to my record on votes in the senate regarding unilateral sanctions, i have differed on some of those. i have voted for some as well. it was always on a case-by-case basis. when i voted against some of those unilateral sanctions against iran, it was a different time. for example, i believe one was in 2001, 2002. we were at a different place with iran during that time. as a matter of fact, i recall
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the brucks did not want a renewal of the five-year renewal of illsa during that time because they weren't sure of the effectiveness of sanctions. that wasn't the only reason i voted against it. it was because i thought there might be other ways to employ our vast ability to harness power and allies. it was never a question of did i disagree with the objective. the objective was i think very clear to both of us. i recall, for example, in 2008, secretary of state rice, sending a letter to the chairman of the finance committee, senator -- senator baucus, requiring a sanctions resolution unilateral in the finance committee not come out of the finance committee because the bush administration at the time was working with the russians specifically but with the security council of the united nations to try to
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get international sanctions which i think that effort, by the way in 2008, led to the 2010 international sanctions. >> can you give us your view on the size of the u.s. force, which might be necessary or would be necessary after 2014, the so-called residual force, if you have an opinion on the size? you indicated in your opening statement two missions for that residual force. can you also give us your opinion about the size of the afghan national security force after 2014 and whether you agree with me and senator graham on this committee and others that we ought to reconsider the position that the afghan national security force should be reduced by a third starting in 2014 to about 230,000 from what its current
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goal is which is about 350,000? >> as you all know, general allen has presented his options to the president for the president's consideration. as far as i know as of this morning, the president had not made a decision on what a residual force numbers-wise would look like. i have not been included in those discussions, so i don't know other than knowing that he's got a range of options as you do. but i would say that from what the president has told me, from what secretary panetta has told me, that that decision will be made to assure resourcing the mission and the capability of that mission. as to what kind of a force structure should eventually be
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in place by the afghans, i don't know enough about the specifics to give you a good answer other than to say i think that has to be a decision that is made certainly with the president of afghanistan, what we can do to continue to support and train and protect our interests within the scope of our ability to do that. obviously the immunity for our troops is an issue, which was an issue with iraq. all those considerations will be important and will be made. if i'm confirmed and in position to give the president advice on that, i will with consultation of our commanders on the ground and our chiefs, give him the best options we can provide. >> will you review that question of the size of the afghan force with an open mind if confirmed? >> i will because i think we have to. >> thank you.
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senator inhofe. >> thank you, mr. chairman. senator hagel, my first question's not to be responded regarding the position but i want to state the position or restate the position on five things i mentioned during my opening statement merely to ask you if those are accurate reflections of things that happened in the past. first one is in 2007, you voted against the designating iran islamic revolutionary guard corps as a terrorist organization. the second thing, in 2006 you were one of 12 senators who refused to position the e.u. to identify hezbollah as a terrorist group. third, in november of twee, you failed to -- 2003, you failed to vote on a syrian accountability act with
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sanctions -- occupation of lebanon. four, in 2001, you were one of only two senators that year to vote against renewal of the iran-libya sanctions act. and lastly, in 2001, you were one of four senators who refused to sign the letter supporting israel. are those accurate? >> well, let's start with the -- >> no. i just want to know if the statement -- these are votes that took place. do you agree those votes took place? >> i want to ask the letter that you just noted in your fifth point, what was the date in the letter? >> the date. >> you said i refused to sign letter. >> october of 2001. >> a letter to -- >> ok. skip that one. is the other ones true? >> well, it was fairly important -- >> it's very important. i was holding the letter at the time that we were gathering signatures. >> i see.
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on the 2008 question regarding designating the revolutionary guard as a terrorist organization, i did vote against it. >> i'm sorry. i don't want to be rude. you and i are very good friends. i know my time's going to expire. others are going to ask why you did this. i was asking for the accuracy. if you don't want to answer that's fine. >> i did vote against it and i was going to explain why i voted against it. >> i know. they will be asking you for your explanation. i want to get to three other things and that's why it's critical that we kind of keep moving along here. one of the criticisms i had of this administration is the lack of priority and funding for the military. while they've increased the deficit by $5.3 trillion in four years, the only major part of the budget has been decreased is the military. that's something pretty well-known. a lot of people don't like that idea. the thing that bothers me just
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as much is putting the agenda, another agenda under the military budget. for example, you have heard senator mccain and me and others talk about the fact that the navy paid for 450,000 gallons of fuel, some $26 a gallon. you can get it on the market for $3. the air force, same thing. except it's $59 a gallon. and so the question i would have of you is just a commitment that if you are confirmed, will you confine the dollars that we are going to spend in the defense budget for defense purposes, for war-fighting purposes? >> well, of course i will because that's the intent of our budget and department of defense. >> i appreciate that very much. there was an article the other day in "the washington post" by jennifer ruben called, "our dim witted state department." it's kind of an interesting article.
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there are four questions that i'm willing to ask that you respond for the record. for people that don't know what it is, that means later on in writing. the questions i'd like that she asked. did the sell of the f-16's have moressy crack down on his peep? would we still have sent the weaponry? how will we respond to the anti-democratic moves and the rise and violence against christians in egypt? or as will likely be the case, a failure to live up to egypt's security obligations regarding gaza? and four, have we miscalculated the muslim brotherload? that would be for the record. in the area of the global zero policy, you and i talked about that in my office. others have talked about it. we're very much concerned. when i heard senator warner and others talk about what used to be the case, the problem in terms of nuclear capabilities,
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we used to be talking about russia and the united states. it's not true any more. our intelligence has told us since 2007 that iran will have that nuclear capability and a delivery system by 2015. so it's other countries that are involved in that. the question i would ask you, in your book you wrote that we must once again convince the world that america has a clear intention of fulfilling the nuclear disarmament committee -- commitments that we have made. the question, a bit more recently you said, i believe providing necessary resources for a nuclear modernization of thetoryad should be a national priority. do you stand by your last statement? >> my last -- >> your last statement saying -- i believe that providing the necessary resources for nuclear modernization of the triad should be a national priority? >> absolutely should be. i agree with that.
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and that's what the policy of this administration is. >> well, i'm merely bringing out the inconsistency because when you were involved with supporting the global zero or whatever that group, the organization was, their declaration is, quote, we the undersigned believe that protect our children, our grandchildren, our civilization from the threat of nuclear catastrophe, we must eliminate all nuclear weapons globally, we therefore commit to working for a legally binding verifiable agreement, including all nations to eliminate nuclear weapons by a date certain. >> the position of global zero, my position, some of the individuals, national security leaders that senator nunn talked about, including himself, has not been unilateral disarmament ever, never. we have over the years, which i
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have supported, the united states has led in reducing the efforts to reducing nuclear warheads. there was no more significant voice for that than ronald reagan when he laid before secretary general gorbachev in 1986 a rather bold plan. in fact, i believe, paraphrasing president reagan, we must eliminate nuclear warheads from the face of the earth, i believe he said something to that effect. global zero has been very clear on this. their effort has been in line with every major national leader in the world, including president obama, to continue to try to make an effort to reduce our nuclear warheads, but in a dangerous world, nuclear arsenals and our containment policy which i mentioned in my
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statement has been critically important. we're not going to unilaterally disarm. verifiable. it has to be bilateral. it has to be negotiated. as all our treaties have been. >> thank you, senator hagel. the reasonable i mentioned the mission statement, that's a group you belong to. we can talk about that later. you may want to expand on that for the record. my time has expired, but i have one last question i'd like to ask and that is, given that iran, the people -- i'm quoting right now from iran -- people of the middle east, the muslim region and the north africa, people of these regions hate america from the bottom of their heart. it further says israel is a cancerous tumor in the heart of the muslim world. and they're willing to wipe israel off the map. and if you'd like to answer for the record, why do you think
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the iranian foreign ministry strongly supports your nomination to be the secretary of defense? >> i have a difficult enough time with american policies, senator. i have no idea. but thank you. and i'll be glad to respond further for the record. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator inhofe. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. first, i'd ask unanimous consent that several letters of support, including one from 13 former secretaries of defense, secretaries of state, strongly endorse senator hagel's nomination be placed in the record. >> it will be placed in the record. >> i think the president chose wisely. there are very few people in the country with very few experience, as a combat infantryman, decorated and wounded, as a business leader, as the second leader of the veterans administration, as the united states senator, as someone who every day understands that the decisions we make will be carried out by
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young americans, has looked in the face of young americans, who have seen them suffer and die for this country. and i think that quality is if not unique extraordinarily part of the nominee before us. so again i think the president made a wise choice. senator inhofe's discussion about zero growth is an opportunity for a quote and let me quote. there is only one way safely and legitimately to reduce the course of national security and that is to reduce the need for it. and that is why we are trying to do a negotiation with the soviet union. we are not just discussing limits on the further increase of nuclear weapons. we seek instead to reduce the number. we seek the total elimination of one day of nuclear weapons on the face of the earth. president ronald reagan in his second inaugural address. the notion of global zero is not something unique. as signators to the nuclear disarmament treaty, national
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nonproliferation treaty, article 11 undertakes to commit at least to complete disarmament under strict and effective control. this is something the united states has embraced for have -- a very long time under presidents of both parties. as senator hagel pointed out, this is not unilateral disarmament. this is a long process of making sure we have the nuclear weapons in place to deal with appropriate challenges. some very different than the cold war. but the aspirations have been important. it's been a bipartisan and constant for decades. is that a rough summary of what you might agree to do, senator? >> yes, it is, senator. thank you. >> the other issue is there is several specific points raised with your record, and let me give you the opportunity to respond, if you will, to the questions that senator inhofe
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posed with respect to votes. if you have the list before you or -- >> what, sorry? >> senator inhofe posed several issues about 2007 vote, 2006 resolution with hezbollah, 2003 syrian sanctions, etc. you were prepared to comment. i think it's appropriate that you have an opportunity to comment if you want to do so now, i'd invite you to do so. >> i'd be glad to further comment for the record, because i have none of those specific votes in front of me, which i will, senator, listing every vote i took. i would say, though, included in those votes, which i do recall some of them, were a vote in 1998, a vote in 2000, a vote in 2006, specifically against iran, sanctioning companies, unilateral sanctions that in any way assisted iran's building their capability of
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nuclear weapons or rocket or missiles, i voted for those. i recall signing a letter, warner-levin letter in 2002 to the president of the united states regarding anti-semitism in russia. i wrote a letter to president clinton specifically in 1999 recommending to president clinton a number of stems that he'd take with president yelingtsin regarding anti-semitism in russia. i remember specifically there were two unanimous consent resolutions in 2006 against hezbollah, against hamas, against syria and iran that we had unanimous consent, i supported on the floor of the senate. so there is a more complete
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record, senator, than just one or two or three or four, and those are some of them that i recall. as i noted in one of the responses back to senator inhofe, i didn't take any action on any vote, as i suspect every colleague here has the same way to approach votes, on this specific issue, on hezbollah, hamas, which i'm on the record many times designating and saying that hezbollah and hamas are terrorist organizations. i'm on the record many times in speeches and the floor of the senate and in the book i wrote in 2008 saying that iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. that is not new. that's in my record. but the way i approached every vote i ever took in the senate was based on what i thought could be most effective, what was at the time, what was the situation at the time, how could we do this smarter and better. i always believed the president
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of the united states is the elected leader of america. he has within his responsibilities, and i believe it's clearly articulated in article 2, to conduct foreign policy. i always thought the best way to deal with foreign leaders is let the president do that directly, for us to communicate with the president. i don't think there was a letter i recall signed to a president on these issues that i agreed with it that i didn't sign. so it was never a matter of differing objectives here. it was a matter of how best we could do it. i mentioned in 2008 the secretary of state didn't want one of those unilateral sanctions to go forward during the bush administration, wrote a letter. 2001, one of the issues that senator inhofe brought up. the bush administration was opposed to a five-year renewal of those. now, i'm not saying it's right or wrong. every one of the decisions i made, every vote i cast was based on at the time what i
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thought made the most sense. >> senator, you have clearly stated that you are supportive of the president's efforts to support the state of israel. . and you have specifically said the iron dome. they have seldom seen or never seen the same level of military support to the state of israel that he's seen in the last several years, and you are i presume and hope fully prepared to carry out that same effort, that same level of support because the vital interests that we share with the state of israel. .>> rim, and i have a record on that. in my book in 2008, interviews,
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speeches, i have always said i am a supporter of israel. in some cases, i've said i am a strong supporter of israel. in some cases, i've written and i think it's in my book that we have a special relationship with israel and we always have had. i have never voted against israel ever in the 12 years i was in the senate, whether was military authorizations or supplemental appropriations. the record is very clear on that. i might add as long as we're on this subject, and senator nelson may have a clearer view of this and see was just in jerusalem, and there have been a couple of recent statements made by the current israeli ambassador to the united states, the former israeli ambassador to the united states and now the deputy foreign minister to israel. we are fairly you -- they were
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fairly positive about me. all of the israeli leaders i have dealt with and met with, and i have been to israel many times -- the first two times i was in israel, i was in the u.s. though. we kept the haifa uso open. there was a lot of pressure to close u.s. those around the world. there was a lot of pressure to close the haifa u.s. those -- uso's. a recent interview how strongly supported me and said specifically i was a strong friend of israel. the uso is now closed, but the than-director who lives in haifa said i was a strong supporter for israel.
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i think my record is clear. i support israel and continue to support the president's policies and i think he has been as strong a supporter of israel as may be any president since 1948, when harry truman helped give birth to israel. this president has been there -- as he said, have israel's back. $3.1 billion in assistance, almost 300 additional million dollars of the defense department for iron dome. i am a strong supporter of all of those programs and will continue to support them. >> thank you. >> before i call on that senator mccain, there's not a quorum present and i ask the committee to consider 952 military
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nominations. is there a motion to favorably report does? all in favor? opposed? the motion carries. thank you. senator mccain? >> thank you. i'm pleased to see an old friend here before the committee, especially pleased to see senator warner and senator nunn , two senators who have contributed greatly to the defense. these questions are not reasonable people disagreeing, these are fundamental disagreements. our concerns pertain to your final judgment and world view on areas of national security, including security in the middle east. with that in mind, let me begin with your opposition to the surge in iraq. 2006, republicans lost the
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election and we began the surge. he wrote a piece in the "washington post" -- leaving iraq honorably. he said it's not in the national interest for the u.s. to deepen its military involvement. in january 2007, in a rather bizarre exchange with secretary rice in the foreign relations committee after some nonsense about syria and crossing the border into iran and syria because of the surge, and a reference to cambodia in 1970, you said "when you set in motion the kind of policy the president is talking about here, it's very dangerous. i think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since the vietnam. if it is carried out, i will
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resist it." the question continued on for months and months talking about what a disaster the surge would be even when it was clear the surge was succeeding. in march 2008, you said "the term quagmires could apply. some reject that term, but if that is not a quagmire, what is? even as late as august 29, 2011, in an interview with the "financial times" -- you said i disagree with president obama and his decision to surge in iraq as i did with president obama. do you stand by those comments? >> senator, i stand by them because i made them. >> were you right? where you write in your
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assessment? >> i would defer to the judgment of history to assert -- to sort that out. >> the committee deserves to know whether you are right or wrong about the search. >> i will explain why -- >> i want to know if you are right or wrong. it's a direct question. >> the surge assisted in the objective. >> will you please answer the question -- were you correct or incorrect when he said the surge would be the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since vietnam? were you correct or incorrect? >> my reference -- >> are you going to answer the question? were you right or wrong? that's a straightforward question. answer whether you are right or wrong and then you are free to elaborate. >> i'm not going to give you a yes or no answer. >> let the record show he refuses to answer the question.
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please go ahead. >> if you would like me to explain -- >> i would like an answer, yes or no. >> i'm not going to give you a yes or no. it's far more complicated than that. i will defer that judgment to history. as to the comment i made about the most dangerous foreign policy decision since vietnam, that was about not just the surge, but the overall war of choice going into iraq. that particular decision made on the surge, but more to the point, our war in iraq, i think was the most fundamentally bad, dangerous decision since vietnam. aside from the cost that occurred to blood and treasure, what that did to take our focus
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off of afghanistan, which in fact was the original and real focus of the national threat to this country, iraq was not, i always tried to frame all of the different issues before i made a decision on anything. we can have differences of opinion. but that is essentially why i took the position. >> a fundamental difference of opinion, senator hegel. senator gramm and i, senator lieberman, we spent our time trying to prevent that 60 of. thank god for senator lieberman. i think history has already made a judgment about the surgeon you are on the wrong side of it in your refusal to answer whether you were right or wrong about it is going to have an impact on my judgment as to whether to vote for your confirmation or not. i hope he will reconsider the fact he refused to answer a fundamental question about an
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issue that took the lives of thousands of young americans. >> senator, there is more to it than just -- >> i am asking about the surge. >> i know, and i am trying to explain my position. it factored what general allan had put into place, we put over 100,000 -- >> am very aware of the history of the surge and i am also aware any casual observer will know the surge was the fundamental factor led by two great leaders, general petraeus and ambassador crocker. >> i don't know if that would have been required and cost us over a thousand american lives. >> you don't know if the surge would have been required? let me go to syria now. more than 60,000 people have been killed in syria. do you believe we should be more
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engaged in syria? >> i know this administration is very engaged in working with its partners. >> you don't think we should do more? >> when you say do more -- >> do you think we should make sure the syrians get the weapons they need and perhaps established a no-fly zone? >> i believe part of our review is looking at those options. >> it has been 22 months. >> i wasn't there. i don't know the details, i'm not there now. >> i'm sure you've read in the newspapers that 60,000 people have been killed and it is in danger of spilling over into neighboring countries. my question is how many more would have to die before you would support arming the resistance and establishing a no-fly zone? >> i don't think anyone questions the terrible tragedy occurring there every day.
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it's a matter of how best do we work our way through this so we can stop it to begin with. what comes next? >> did you disagree with president obama on his decision for the surge in afghanistan? >> i did not think we should get ourselves -- first of all, i have no original position -- >> you were recorded in 2007 saying i disagree on the decision to surge into afghanistan. >> that was my personal opinion, yes. >> thank you. >> senator nelson? >> since the issue of iraq has come up here, i want to state for the record and laid the predicate that this senator was one of many that voted for the authorization to go into iraq
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and, as it turns out, the lessons of history, we were given incorrect information as a justification for going into iraq. we were told by the secretary of defense, by the secretary of state, by the national security adviser, and the director of the cia that there were weapons of mass destruction in iraq. so for a lot of the decisions that were made at the outset, they were decisions that were informed with incorrect information. as the committee is judging senator hegel -- senator hagel on that decision, i want to tell the committee what was the
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experience of this senator. what i would like to do with my time here is that since there are few of us in this room that served in the military during the vietnam era, and you clearly have that experience in combat. senator hagel -- by the way, a lot of people don't know anything about vietnam and don't know how difficult it was as senator warner has so eloquently stated in his comments, how the nation was divided. what i would like for you as the committee is getting to know you, know something about your service in vietnam and your combat experience.
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were you wounded, senator hagel? >> senator nelson, thank you. if i may, if i read into your question, some latitude in answering. i would respond this way -- i think my time is better served may be talking about these specific things like senator mccain asked me about and some others and maybe we've in some of my experience as to how i formed my judgment rather than going through a 12-month journal of my time in the jungles when my brother, and i were both wounded twice together. in 1968, when time it -- when tom and i served here was the worst year we had. those who may not recall that
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year, we sent over 16,000 dead americans home. that is unfathomable in the world we live in today. 16,000 dead americans. i saw that from the bottom. i think chairman levin, in an accurate and appropriate "in it -- at grit and appropriate quote for me and it certainly goes to senator mccain's question about the search. just as i said in my statement -- i have fought -- and have one of fundamental question i asked myself on every vote i took in every decision made -- was a policy worthy of the men and women we were sending in to battle and surely to their deaths?
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in many cases, unfortunately tens of thousands of cases we are living with and these poor families are living with, wounded -- the results and the consequences. i know it's easy here, it is anywhere, if you don't have a connection to some of this to see these things a little differently. it doesn't mean i'm any better, senator, it doesn't mean i'm any i'm any it doesn't mean more appreciative of the service to our country. i saw it to the bottom and i saw what happens. i saw the consequences, the suffering, and horror of war. i did question the surge. it was not an aberration to me ever. i always ask the question is this going to be worth the sacrifice, because there will be sacrificed. in the surge in iraq, we lost
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almost 1200 dead americans and thousands of wounded. was it required? was it necessary? senator mccain has his own opinion on that, shared by others. i'm not sure. i'm not that certain it was required. right, it mean i'm doesn't mean i made wrong vote, but that is what guides me when you ask me the question about my time in vietnam and was i wanted -- that was a very insignificant part of this. we were just doing our job, senator, as every military person knows that. some of this committee has a rather distinguished members that it served, starting with senator mccain and the sacrifices he has made to this country. but it does condition you. i am not shaped, frame, molded, consumed by that experience.
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of course not. but it is part of me. i tried to explain that in my opening statement. we are all shaped by those experiences. i hope that experience i have had is for the better and i hope if i have the privilege of serving as secretary of defense, it will put someone in charge at the pentagon -- not questioning past secretaries of defense, i can only speak for myself -- who understand the realities and consequences of war. it doesn't mean i'm better. i don't walk away from that. i acknowledge that. but it does not consume me. i don't see the lands of every world event and whether we should use american power through the lens of vietnam. but it is part of me and it is part of that lands. i think that is for the better and i think we need to be cautious with their power and lead to be wise with our power. we have great power, awesome
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power. no nation in the world is even in our league. we've done so much good with that power. i don't think there is a nation in history of man that has ever been as judicious and careful with its power as we have. and i want to make sure we continue to do that, as you all do. we will have differences on policies, but all i can do is my best based on my own experiences, as i said my statement, reaching out, listening, learning, never knowing enough, understand that circumstances change. >> thank you, senator. great to have you with us and have this hearing and opportunity to discuss important issues. i admire your service to your country and your combat experience is something we all honor and respect. i have been for the most part
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chairman, ranking member or member of the strategic subcommittee of this senate armed services committee for the time i've been in the senate. we came together, so i have some experience and knowledge about nuclear weapons and national security. i believe the secretary of defense should be the core, the rock solid person for the defense of america. i believe he should project an image of solidity and steadfastness the whole world and american people can depend on. i'm more than a little troubled by the report you participated in that calls for the total elimination of nuclear weapons and clearly suggests that is an achievable goal in a realistic time. certainly not immediately.
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their report writers issued an article defending you and the report that was just issued last year. they protest and say chalk hagel and global zero views are in the national interest and squarely in the mainstream. they insist you are in the mainstream because your position is that of president obama's. dramatically, they assert you are out of the mainstream if you believe otherwise. your report explicitly calls for "an arctic -- an urgent and transformational change in u.s. nuclear force structure, strategy and posture." i think that's an exceedingly dramatic report, frankly.
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specifically, as to the historic nuclear force triad that has the -- has been our defense triad, it calls for bilaterally or unilaterally totally eliminating the icbm triad leg. the report refers to itself as a diad instead of a triad. you propose eliminating the 76 nuclear b-52 bombers entirely, leaving only 18 v to bombers, reducing nuclear submarines from 14 to attend. -- 14 to 10. you favor eliminating all tactical nuclear weapons, ed de
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-- de-alerting all the clear weapons, that means it would take a few days to place a weapon on alert. i agree that would be a transformational change in our nuclear force structure, strategy and posture. i think it's a big, historic thing. the present commander of the u.s. strategic command and the secretary of the air force do not agree with the recommendations in this report. they're people you worst -- people he will supervise. the general told the press last year that he does not support the former vice chairman, general cartwright, i do not think we are in the place we -- he suggests now, nor do i see that particular place anytime
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soon. you will be supervising him. would you share with us where you are today on that issue? do you support the view of general taylor or do you support the commission report you signed? >> thank you, senator. first, let me correct some of your interpretation of what the global zero report was. and what it actually said. first, it did not propose or call for anything. it was in fact the word specifically used at the front end of that report was illustrative. proposing nothing, but laying out different scenarios and possibilities and schedules. but here is the key part to all of this.
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this is summarized in a letter to president obama in 2009. bilateral, never unilateral. nothing was suggested on a unilateral basis to take down our arsenal. verifiable. these are terms that were in the report. as senator nunn said in his opening statement and i have alluded to this -- the mainstream thinking of most presidents we've had the last 65 years, and i go back to ronald reagan's comment was a reduction of nuclear weapons for very obvious reasons. that is why we have engaged in treaties to reduce nuclear weapons. those were not unilateral arrangements, those were bilateral arrangements. the u.s. and russians have
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about 90% of the nuclear weapons in the world today. there are others to have them. there are nine nuclear powers, dangerous, the so-called loose nukes or non-state actors and terrorist groups getting all of these are threats -- >> it is not clear in your report. the report says on page one these steps should be taken with russia and negotiated in another round of bilateral arms reductions or implemented unilaterally. >>a less good approach would beo adopt this agenda he unilaterally. it suggests it would not be as good, but you would do so. there is another reference to that.
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it does call for these reductions in your conclusion. you say the united states should seek to achieve such reductions in 10 years and base its arsenal on a diet of nuclear delivery vehicles. -- a diad of nuclear delivery vehicles. it would consist of 10 trident submarines and 18 v to bombers. the normal conditions that one half of the warhead stockpile would be deployed on these carriers, the other half would be kept in reserves. all land-based intercontinental missiles armed with nuclear payloads would be retired along with carriers of non strategic nuclear warheads. all of which would be eliminated. tactical nuclear weapons, all of which would be eliminated from the stockpile. b-52 bombers would be completely
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dismantled or converted to carry only conventional weapons. i don't believe that is consistent with the policy as a country as a whole. i support of legislation to create a bipartisan commission several years ago to help us. senator levin and others supported. the house supported and it passed, to help us determine how much further we could continue to draw down our nuclear weapons. it was chaired by james -- john glenn was on it, lee hamilton, james woolsey, they had access to the defense department secret documents and information and they came out with quite a different view. let me point out some of the
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things they came up with. they said maintain the triad. they said maintain tactical nuclear weapons. they recommended no change in the alert status. the defense department's nuclear posture review under president obama and secretary gates found the alert status should not be altered. they fundamentally found a need for nuclear-weapons. that's the point. your commission basically says it undermines their request for nuclear-weapons. i will give you a chance to respond. global zero foresaw this argument before your report was issued. they said "the conditions that might make possible the global elimination of nuclear weapons
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are not present today and their creation would require a fundamental transformation of the world political order. statementery strong and i think it was aimed at this idea that it is practical and realistic for us to expect the world is going to move to zero nuclear weapons. silent ask you one question -- so i want to ask you one question you told us in your meeting and i appreciate it. president obama stated when we did the new start treaty discussion -- "i intend to modernize or replace the triad of strategic nuclear systems, a heavy bomber and air launched cruise missiles and icbm is and
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nuclear-powered ballistic missiles -- ballistic missile submarines. and he committed to accelerate the design of the two buildings where modernization would take place and request full funding for those projects. first, let me ask you would you support that vision and commitment the president made? >> absolutely, i do. >> i really do see -- i am uneasy about this vision expressed in that committee report of yours. >> let me briefly come back to what you said, and i appreciate you giving me a chance to respond. first, my record has always been very clear -- everything i voted on in my career in less than it is where i have been a strong,
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agile, safe, secure, effective nuclear arsenal for the united states is not debatable. i've voted that way, i believe that, you know the home of the strategic command is now in senator fisher's state which used to be in the state by rep -- i used to be in that state as a senator. it hasn't changed. i know a little something about it. not as much as you and others in the committee, but i've been to the facility many times. and as a general well and know the commanders very well. you know what the motto is -- it is a significant motto -- peace is our business. what has kept the peace, as i noted my opening statement, as
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much as anything since world war two, is that strong nuclear deterrent. the next prospective secretary of defense would never do anything or take any action that would minimize, harm or downgrade that reality. but again, not to get caught up in this report, this report was about illustrative possibilities -- what -- how could things be done. always a bilateral, always verifiable, always negotiable, just as we have always done in our treaties. that's the commitment i made to you and i made to the president. my record is clear that. >> thank you. i would say the vision stated in your global 0 report i believe
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is likely to create instability rather than confidence, create uncertainty among our allies and potential adversaries and i do not believe it would meet the goal you set not to weaken our ability. i'm troubled -- i appreciate your comments today, but i'm troubled by the language in that report. >> thank you. in the six years i have served on the committee, i've served under senator warner as a ranking republican member and his senator mccain as a ranking republican member. i've got to tell you there has never been a time i did not cents that we all agreed our work on behalf of our nation in terms of protecting our country and defending our country that it was a bipartisan effort. fifth i believe very strongly that this committee needs to be
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bipartisan, and i hope the new ranking member holds the same regard for that as senator mccain and senator warner did because at all times, i felt they were respectful and willing to listen to our disagreements. i am hopeful that will continue and i will be optimistic it will. i'm going to ask a series of questions. do you believe all options should be on the table when we confront iran quest for >> i do. >> the believe run as a state -- a state rest -- state sponsor of terrorism and provide support to hezbollah and a moscow store >> yes, and i am on the record a number of times saying that. -- >> do you support sanctions against iran? >> yes. >> do you believe the allied
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states should unilaterally eliminate its nuclear arsenal? >> no. >> do you agree with henry kissinger, george shultz, when they said "the four of us have come together in a non-partisan effort deeply committed to building support for a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons, to prevent their spread into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately to end them as a threat to the world. we remain committed to working toward this vision and advancing the steps essential to achieve this goal. do you agree with those for bipartisan national leaders in the area of national security and foreign policy? >> yes. >> i wanted to take a few minutes to talk about some of the things we talked about in my office and some people are
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saying here she goes. the audit ability of the defense department. i know you want to hold people accountable. i don't think most americans realize as we face shrinking budgets and want to secure the pre-eminence of our military and not hollow out the spending at the defense department, that ought to ability is a crucial -- ability is crucial. can you reassure me that audit ability needs to happen no later than 2017 cluster can you make a commitment that will be a priority, making sure as secretary panetta did at secretary gates did, that that's going to be an essential priority? >> as i told you, senator, i
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will make that commitment to this committee. >> then turning to contracting -- i have yet to have provided to me other than raw numbers we spent any data that indicates any major infrastructure rebuilding as part of a counterinsurgency works. there are many things that work in a counterinsurgency strategy. one of them as it was originally posed to me six years ago on this committee by general petraeus was the commanders emergency response program, the walking around money to fix a plate credit -- to fix a plate glass windows, that was an essential part of the strategy. that morphed into our military building major infrastructure projects without any data to indicate the billions of dollars
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we were spending was in fact advancing our military mission. in addition to that, it is clear if you want to look at iraq and the failures iraq represents in some ways, one of the failures is the crumbling investments this country made in iraq. the health centers that never opened, the water park that sit crumbling, the power facilities that were blown up before they had an opportunity to operate. i can go down billions of dollars of waste because we did not do the analysis on sustainability after we left. i am convinced we have made this same mistakes in afghanistan and i would like your response to this issue of major infrastructure building while we are in a conflict being conducted by our military, not by a id, not by the state
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department, and whether he would make a commitment to come back to this committee with analyzing data as whether that's a part of the coin strategy. >> i will make that commitment and it's part of a larger series of questions and factors always involved when an asian gets clearly committed -- when a nation and its clearly committed, as we still are in afghanistan and were in iraq for years. when you are at war, the highest first priority is to take care of your people. as a result of that, all the rest of the normal latitude and guidance and theory, policy is secondary. in both of those wars, because
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we got ourselves in so deep with so many people, and the welfare of our men and women was paramount, we tried a lot of things. we had never been this way of four. we had never seen anything like these two situations. as a result, and you know, our special inspector general's have come up with billions and billions and billions of dollars. that are unaccounted for. corruption, fraud, waste, abuse, it is quite astounding, but when you think about the universe of money that went into both of those wars, no one should be surprised. how do we fix it? what we do? how'd we learn from this? we need to learn from this. it was not the fault of the
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military. the military was asked to do everything. we overload the circuits are military. we said you do it, you got the money, you got the structure, you got the organization and the people, go do it. so we put these young captain's in very difficult spots. these young captain's were given $100,000 in cash, essentially walking around money, to take care of tribal chiefs and so on. it wasn't their fault. they were told to do it. it was part of the strategy. i don't question any particular strategy or part of it, but i think it's part of the whole you are talking about, and if i am confirmed in go over there, i will take a look at we will go deeper and wider into this because we owe it to our people,
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the people of this country to pay the bills and for the future. what did we learn for future challenges? >> thank you. >> congratulations on your nomination. you and i have been good friends since i came to the senate in 2002 and sat next to each other for six years on the intel committee and during that process, you cast some boats i questioned, but we were always able to dialogue and it never impacted our friendship. i'm very appreciative of that. you also introduced two of my nunnst friends, senator and senator warner. this is the number-one issue we're going to have to deal with -- the issue of our relationship
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with iran and where we go in the future. short-term as well as long term. he wrote in your book -- "we blundered into iraq because of flawed intelligence, flawed assumptions, flawed judgments, and ideologically-driven motives. we must not repeat these errors with iran and the best way to avoid them is to maintain an effective dialogue." you then go on to advocate for a "direct and strategic diplomatic initiative." i heard you in your opening comments say your position on iran is prevention, not containment when it comes to their nuclear weapons. i want you to expand on that and go back to senator inhofe and senator reid's comments on why you did not designate -- iran
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is the no. 1 terrorist sponsor state in the world. i want you to expand and your position on a nuclear weapon ized iran and talk about red lines. if your position is prevention and not containment, what is the redline? what is the point? we know there are things happening there right now that are very serious. how far do we go? do you still advocate direct negotiations with iran as you said and made clear that all options were on the table and stated again that military options is one of those. if you will -- we have never negotiated with a terrorist state. why do you feel we ought to dialogue with them even on this issue today? lastly, what alterations, if any, do you think are necessary
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to our military force posture in the gulf region to deter iranian regional ambitions and support international diplomatic efforts to stop iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability? it's a broad statement of my part and a broader question, but this is the issue from a national-security standpoint and i would like to be pretty specific. with the specific question on a vote regarding designating the revolutionary guard as a terrorist organization. you recall because you were there, there were 22 senators who voted against that. the effort against it, the main point made on the floor of the senate came from senator jim webb. his point was we have never, ever designated part of a
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legitimate government, a state -- when i say legitimate, it doesn't mean we agree with iran, it is a member of the united nations. almost all of our allies have embassies in iran. that is why i note an elected legitimate government whether we agree or not. we have never made any part of illegitimate independent government, designated them or made them part of a terrorist organization. we've just never done that. and you say so what, what is the problem? the problem was at least 22 of us believe, both republicans and democrats, but it was jim webb who was on the floor most of the time, said if you do that, it's that amount to giving the
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president of the united states authority to use military force against iran without having to come back to get a resolution from or partner with or cooperate with the congress of the united states. essentially, if we vote for that, we're giving the president that authority. you can agree or disagree with that, but i listened to that debate and there was some pretty thoughtful debate and i thought that debate was pretty powerful with me. we were already in two wars at the time and i thought this made sense, so i voted against it. that is why i voted against it. you might also remember secretary does it -- secretary
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designate kerry voted against it. senator obama voted against it, senator biden voted against it and senator lugar voted against it. as to the iranian red line, the persian gulf and some of the iranian questions, i support the president's strong position on containment as i have said. i will speak more specifically to a couple of the example you used for my book. his position is i think right and when you ask the question of our red lines, i think the president has gone as far as he should go publicly. he has said clearly that in his
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words, he has israel's back. he said his policy is not to allow the iranians to get a nuclear weapon. what constitutes when action would be taken, that is always something that should not be discussed publicly or debated in the public domain. your quotations from my book which you acknowledge i always said the military option should be on the table and i have said that consistently as well as engaging with iran, i have always thought it is a far smarter to approach these very serious threats, including iran, probably as significant a threat we have out there today, although north korea is beyond a
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threat, it is a real nuclear power and quite unpredictable. i think pakistan is another very complicated reality, but staying on iran, i think we're far smarter to do with president has been doing, which i laid out in my book. i have a chapter on iran, two chapters on iraq, and a chapter on the middle east. getting the world community behind us with these u.n. sanctioned sanctions through the security council of the united nations, these are tough sanctions and they are having a tremendous impact. you know that. if the military option is the only when required, we are always on higher ground in every way, international law, domestic law, people of the world, people of the region to be with us on this.
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if we have tried and gone through this in a responsible way, everything i have said in my book was about that. i don't have a problem with engaging. i think engagement is clearly in our interest. that's not negotiation. engaged in is not appeasement or surrender. i think the time is right, the climate is right, the dynamics are right, we should find ways if we can. we cannot force it, but i think we are always smarter and wiser to take that approach initially. posture in the persian gulf -- as you know, our fifth fleet is located in the persian gulf. we have a couple of carrier battle groups in that area. our military posture their is
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very strong. it is very ready and very capable. if these are contingencies and options the secretary of defense, working with these chiefs and combat and commanders have to give them make sure we are prepared. i may have missed some of the specific things he wanted to discuss. >> i'm understanding to say you are not ready to discuss redlines in a specific way, and my hearing that right? >> i don't think that is my role now to start with. i am not the secretary of defense, but i think the president is why is in his course of action in not discussing that publicly. i think it is a far smarter way to handle it and i think he has said what he needs to say. i think it has been understood
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in iran and i think the world understand his position. >> i've just been handed a note that i misspoke and said i supported the president's position on containment. if i said that, i meant to say we don't have a position on containment. i recognize i had more attention paid to my words the last eight weeks than i ever thought possible, so i don't take any chances. >> i think i understood you correctly on could take men and prevention. >> just to make sure that is clear, we do have a position on containment and that we do not favor contentment. >> that is the president's position and my position. >> i just wanted to clarify the clarify. >> if it needs further clarification, that's why i'm here.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. good morning senator hagel. thank you for your willingness to heed the call and had a part of defense. we had a good meeting last week and covered many of the threats and challenges our country faces -- streaking budgets, a strategic national security shifts and as you have underlined over and over again, we continue to provide fair and equal opportunities for all our service members and their families. i appreciate your opportunity and i will take you look better offer if you are confirmed to continue sitting down with you as a member of the armed services committee. i know this issue has already been addressed but i want to make sure i'm on the record is raising my concerns and this committee should give you every opportunity to clarify and underline your point of view. when we met privately, you
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emphasized your determination to keep all options on the table with regard to iran, including a military strike if iraq and continues to pursue a nuclear program in defiance of its international obligations. you also discussed your longstanding approach to israel, but you have critics out there who maintain your record on iran is in question and you are anti- israel. these are serious charges. let me direct some questions your way. why should americans trust you will consider every option when it comes to one of the most serious national security threats today, which is iran? >> first, thank you for an opportunity to clarify these issues. my record has been very clear on iran. senator chambliss noted it from
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my book that i said the military option must remain on the table. i set that as recently in an op- ed i co-authored last year in the "washington post" with 24%, commanders. we talked about iran and -- with 2 cents, commanders. with all of the diplomacy, economics and sanctions the president is using, which is that i support. my record is rather thorough on this and i will continue to support that position and strongly support the president's position. >> senator, talk about your view on israel, our relationship with israel, how can we continue to have a special alliance with a country with him we share more
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than an economic or political philosophy, but with a moral connection we have to israel? >> i have said many times, just as i have with the military option on iran, speeches on the floor and interviews i've given, i am a strong supporter of israel. i have been and will continue to be. i have also said specifically that we have a special relationship with israel. again, my record is pretty clear. i voted 12 years in the united states senate for every authorization, every appropriation, that i had an opportunity to vote on for israel. i've been to israel many times and met with their leaders many times. again, if you look at my record,
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my recis